This drawing is another version of the Studio Light images. It is a coloured pencil drawing with incising into the paper surface similar to the technique used in the Ninety Nine Signs drawings and paintings.
The selection of objects for this still life are ones that have been used in previous art works. The salt jar with a spoon, the comb and marbles in jars and the light bulb are all objects that represent ideas seen in earlier works
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The four drawings represent the seasons of winter, spring, summer and autumn. The drawings seen together form a circle which is subdivided into four quadrants. The drawing is a study for a painting. This image is a continuation of the idea which is also seen in an earlier painting shown below installed in an exhibition at Trajectory Gallery.
The final painting shown below, each canvas panel is 61 cm x 61 cm
There are several images where the moon in the sky or depicted with a river is used as a subject . The mural size, mixed media drawing shown below left is an earlier example depicting the moon with a river and embankment. This drawing shows a prominent linear element using calligraphic mark making to create movement and direction. This gestural aspect of the drawing is a kind of planned spontaneity structured around a asymmetrical composition reminiscent of Japanese screen painting.
The drawing of the moon seen through a window is an example of contrasting a linear element, the window frame, with the trees and moon. The symmetrical composition and use of colour creates a spiritual symbolism.
The image of the Moon, the celestial satellite is contrasted with the Earthly Kaaba, the cubic House of Allah (God) which is known as the first place of worship built by the prophet Adam and later reconstruced by the prophet Abraham and his son Ishmael. The halo lines surrounding the Kaaba represent the pilgrims in the circumambulation or tawaf.
The drawing below shows the Ninety Nine Signs in gold paint on a background with incised markings and coloured pencil utilizing the texture of the paper surface. This is a study for a painting and continues the series based on the 99 Names of Allah. Each symbol represents one of the signs or qualities of Allah.
The drawing is organized on a grid composition.
This image is of the painting at an early stage showing the Ninety Nine Signs. The detail is a closeup showing some of the signs in relief with underpainting texture on the gessoed panel prior to the final painting.
- The Ninety Nine Signs, 2011, acrylic and gold paint on plywood, 122 x 150 cm
using the calligraphic nail symbol and the enscribed names. Here the
nail symbols all point to the centre which represents the Qabaa in Mecca,
the first House of God built by Adam and restored by Abraham.
The direction, or Qibla, towards Mecca is the orientation all Muslims face
when praying. This established practise creates a universal Unity which is
also manifested in the annual pilgrimage or Hajj to Mecca.
The nail shape is similar to the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, the alif which is also a single vertical shape. The various nail symbols change shape to also represent the letters of the enscribed words. The placement of the nail shapes creates a movement across the sheet of paper, the central radiating one and the dance of each nail shape.
This drawing is another image which explores the use of symbols to represent the traditional names of Allah or God. The image below right shows a detail of the drawing which is divided into 99 squares with a name in each square. A stylus was used to enscribe each name and also add a texture to the paper surface. Pencil was drawn over the paper surface to reveal the names and texture. The image of a bent nail, each one a different shape, has the appearance of calligraphy and is used as a symbol for each name. The nail symbols have a shifting orientation to the four cardinal directions which represents what one would do if facing Mecca to pray in different parts of the world.
The names when reflected upon reveal the attributes associated with each name. The first name is Allah, the One who is Eternal which is placed in the centre. The next name is The Merciful, Al Rahman in Arabic which is in the top left corner. The transliteration of Arabic into English is used for each name. The names continue left to right and down the length of the drawing. The names are purposely not visually dominant allowing the viewer to search and discover the name and its’attributes. Traditionally one would commit the names to memory and recite the names as a spiritual practice and devotion. A treatise of the ninety nine names can be seen in a text, Al-Ghazali, The Ninety-nine Beautiful Names of God.
The environment of the studio can be visually engaging as one works on various ideas. Considering the quality of light as it enters the work space, at different times of the day and season to season, can be a factor in the choice of colours and their value as work progresses on an art work. The image shown left is an earlier drawing of a studio view which shows the interplay of the painted view of a still life on an easel in the foreground, see image below right, and another simple still life in the background. The picture plane is divided by dominant diagonals, the use of different implied textures and the suggestion of a strong light.
The drawing below is another approach to the still life with the environment of the studio and the exterior also being considered. The large north facing windows with stain glass panels, weather effects and light offer visual information to work with. The final image contrasts the inside with the outside but also have elements of opacity and transparency, movement as opposed to stillness and contrasts of textures and shapes.
In my use of jars and other still life objects I consider the quality of light, the transparency and the relationship of the objects one to the other. The space inside a jar and between each object is carefully considered.
The linoleum print is an earlier work that shows one composition of the objects and a certain quality of light. A piece of used floor linoleum was used for the print as there was a readymade texture in the surface of the linoleum that gave the desired effect when printed. The background grey colour shows this texture feature.
The drawing below, My Childhood Night Sky, continues the involvement with the still life. While planning the drawing I recollected the wonder one has as a child of space, stars, planets and how simple objects through ones imagination can become something else. The planets are Saturn, Jupiter and the red planet Mars.
I consider how to use non traditional still life objects to convey the idea. Jars contain not only objects but also memories and ideas. So the idea of saving something of value, like a relic, is also considered in these still life works. The Tower of Babel and David and Golliath are two other recent examples of this approach to the still life genre. The Prophet’s Comb is another, an earlier linocut print.
The drawings of the ten Arabic numerals began with the study of the Arabic language and research of the traditional calligraphy seen in numerous examples in Qur’ans, mosques and on various objects. The image below left is an example of a preliminary drawing where some of the colour and composition details are investigated. The composition of shapes follows an alternating order beginning with a circle then a square. The use of the circle and square are shapes that are central to the traditional designs seen in Islamic art and archtecture.
The image below right is a drawing of the ten numerals in black and white. Each numeral is in it’s final form. When using a traditional calligraphy pen the initial mark, called a noktah, is made to begin forming each numeral. The noktah looks similar to the Arabic number zero or a diamond shape which is the size of the pen nib width. The pen stroke begins at the top and then continues in a downward stroke. The numbers are qualitative and quantative entities. Their outward or exoteric expression is as mathematical numbers and there also exists an essence, in Arabic a batin (باطن ), which is a esoteric quality that distinguishes one number from another. This distinguishing feature is a representation of Unity whereby all numbers relate to their source. The numerals 1, 5, 7 and 0 will be briefly discussed.
One represents Allah or God the Creator, primordial, eternal and permanent. One is the principle and the origin of all numbers.
Five represents the five senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. In nature the qualities of ether, fire, air, water and earth exist. In this drawing the number five is gold leafed
The number seven represents the seven visible planets, the Sun, Moon and the five planets closest to the sun in our solar system, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. The moon is represented in this drawing. The number seven also represents the seven days of the week.
The number zero or sifr in Arabic like the other nine numbers has a quantitative quality in that it represents nothing but when added to one the two numbers represent ten and so on. The qualitative or esoteric meaning of zero is the Divine Essence. God is One, Eternal not restricted to the domain of something or nothing.